Friday, April 16, 2010

Beck surrogate responds

There's an ongoing debate about churches and social justice, prompted by Glenn Beck of Fox News commenting that Christians should "flee" churches which talk about social justice. He sees "social justice" as a code phrase for both communist and fascist extremism. This brought a predictable backlash from a wide range of Christians, from the Sojourners' Rev. Jim Wallis to Biblical scholars pointing out that the early church was effectively socialist (see Acts 4:32-35).

The Washington Post's religion pages have been filled with this debate, with the latest being a response from a producer of Glenn Beck's show. He cites one example of "social justice" extremism and says that Beck has nothing against Christian charity, only against advocacy of societal change. But can churches stop at charity? One Brazilian bishop said in the days of the dictatorship in that country, "When I feed the poor, they say I am a Christian. When I ask why they are poor, they say that I am a Communist." Can churches ask these questions?